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Ant Clay’s SharePoint Insights

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The creator and CEO of Soulsailor Consulting, Ant Clay, is a SharePoint consultant who is known to use the Socratic method on his clients, asking them “why” until they eventually give in and admit they don’t know. CMS Wire recently turned this around and asked him a few questions. Here are some of the important takeaways:

SharePoint’s Best Feature – The interface’s flexibility is what makes it so powerful. Unfortunately, the same feature can also make it complicated for companies who don’t know how to work with it. The ability to manage the “metadata” in order to keep everything organized, including the ability to use a formal taxonomy as well as an informal “folksonomy,” is one of his favorites.

Put simply, the interface allows users to stay in touch with the information that is most relevant to them, without being overwhelmed with information that they don’t need to know about.

What Not to Do – Most businesses that fail to use SharePoint properly do so because they think of it as a technology system, rather than as a system for managing relationships and people. The appropriate way to think about it is as a system of governance that can be customized, which is why “best practices” just aren’t enough. The 4 broad level things to think about are:

  1. Business alignment
  2. Vision/Strategy
  3. Change Management
  4. “Holistic” government

Keep Governance Simple – Documents should stay short enough for people to remember, and there should be a reason why each rule is in place. All governance should have a goal in mind.

Think on Three Levels – Governance addresses 3 different levels, and they should be approached by different levels of management as well. It’s important for even ground-level employees to play a role in governance for it to work efficiently.

  1. Strategic
  2. Operational
  3. Day to day

How do you approach SharePoint as a system of governance? What role do different management levels play in this system?

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